Regardless of whether you’ve been searching for a job for months, or only just begun your search for a new employer, it always hurts when you finish up the interviews process only to find out that you’ve been unsuccessful in your application. Are you left wondering what happened? Here are some of the top reasons why you may have missed out on the job this time around (and how to avoid making the same mistake!):
1. you sent a generic resume:
depending on the amount of jobs you’re applying for, it can be tempting to submit a generic resume and cover letter- where possible, try to customise your application so that the skills you have which are most relevant for the role are easy to find and fit with the requirements outlined on the job description
2. you rocked up late to the interview:
turning up late to any meeting is just plain rude! Make sure you leave plenty of time to travel to your interview - better to get there early and wait, then keep the interviewer waiting.
3. you didn’t have enough experience:
unfortunately sometimes regardless of your enthusiasm for the role, you might be pipped at the post by someone who was just a bit more experienced than you. Don’t feel disheartened - turn this into a positive by ensuring you asking in your followup email exactly why you didn't get the job, and then seek extra training or volunteer work to gain the necessary experience for next time.
4. you had too much experience:
that old chestnut! sure, it sounds ridiculous but sometimes employers might not offer you the job despite your golden application as they might think you are too good to be true, or worse, assume that due to your salary expectations would be out of their league. To offset this, always be upfront with the pay bracket you are happy with, and provide clear reasons for why you are seeking this particular role - perhaps you’re happy to take a sidestep into the right industry or gain new skills to take a different career path than the trajectory you are currently on.
5. you badmouthed your current/previous employer in the interview:
sure, your ex-boss might have been the manager from hell, but complaining about your past jobs will only do you more harm than good. Potential employers will only see these complaints as petty, and it will also get them wondering about what you might say about them should you end up resigning one day.
6. you weren’t the right cultural fit for the role:
sadly, this one might be outside your control, but is often a contributing factor as to why you were passed over for someone else. Businesses need to ensure that the people they hire are not only competent but will also fit into the existing work culture - on a positive note though, its probably a good thing in hindsight - why would you want to work for a place you wouldn't fit into anyway?
7. your interview was an epic fail:
maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed the morning of the interview or perhaps you just didn't quite ‘gel’ with your interviewer - either way, you can usually tell whether you've aced an interview as soon as you walk out. To lessen the chances of messing up, make sure you are prepared and at peak confidence - read our article ‘7 ways to stand out from other candidates when applying for a role
’ on more tips on how to impress.
8. your potential employer stalked you on personal social networks and saw some things they didn't like:
it pays to check your online footprint (and know your privacy controls!) on social media. Learn more about how to leverage social media in your job search.
9. the job was filled internally:
many Hong Kong businesses actually have KPSs based around the number of roles filled by internal staff. The reason for this is to enhance their employer brand by providing a strong career progression path. Try not to take it personally!
10. you didn’t follow up after the interview:
have you ever applied for a role, totally rocked the interview, and then been completely thrown when a few weeks later you learn that the role went to someone else? It could be that this candidate may have had the exact same experience as you, the same interview technique, but the one thing that really set them apart was that they did the follow up homework whereas you didn't. Sending a thank you note or calling your interviewer post-meeting can offer you a powerful advantage over other applicants, so don't be lazy - get typing!
There are a thousand reasons why you might have missed out on that dream role - sometimes it's things you can fix (like presentation or preparation), and other times it might be just unlucky happenstance (such as when a job is filled internally), either way its important to be aware of the things you have control over to better your chances of being successful. What do you think is a job-search no-no?